The Trouble With 'Normal'

By: Rachel Marsden

A spokesman for the Toronto District School Board assured me this week that they’re getting their “float” (a school bus) all gussied up for this weekend’s Gay Pride Parade.

The School Board’s float should have been an iceberg, because it’s what’s underneath that’s actually troubling. Ironically, with all the recent hand-wringing over two-tier health care, no one’s asking why it’s not just rich folks, but middle-class Torontonians who are sucking up the added cost to stick their kids in private schools.

A concerned parent with children in the Peel public school system recently sent me a link to an “issue paper” that she dug out from the recesses of the Peel District School Board’s “Go Beyond Words” website.

Peel Board of Education spokesman, Brian Woodland, tells me that “Heterosexism: Issue Paper #6” is an “internal document intended to be a starting point for discussions on issues for staff” and was drafted by a group of resource staff and teachers.

The paper states: “Whether or not most of us consciously recognize it as a problem, we live in a society that deems heterosexuality as the norm. We are therefore all subjected to homophobia every day.”

So apparently, “normal” is now an actual problem with its very own label: heterosexism. And although you may not actually be conscious of it because those straight people are so stealthy, the overwhelming majority out there is constantly bombarding you with its fear of gays.

The paper defines “homophobia” as “an intense, irrational fear of same-sex relationships”.

“Homophobia” takes the cake for being one of the nuttiest terms ever invented. It implies that Fashion Week is basically a horror show, and a trip to the hair salon is akin to white-knuckling it on an unarmed stroll through the skids. There are about as many people out there who “fear” gays as there are who have nightmares about teddy bears, cotton candy and baby bunnies.

But yelling out schoolyard names like “homophobe” is apparently an effective way to shut down a rational debate over things like the leftist re-jigging of society to alter the centuries old tradition of marriage. I guess that old standby, “bigot”, just wasn’t cutting it anymore.

Back when I was in grade school, educators didn’t promote this kind of labeling and name calling. They had a zero tolerance for it. We didn’t need a special curriculum or books featuring gay couples to learn about respect for other people.

It used to be the punks who were tossed out of the mainstream school system—not the kids they picked on. Now, some lefty educators—these supposed beacons of inclusiveness and integration—are keen to segregate out gay students if it calls attention to the right “cause”.

The Canadian Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Resource Directory describes the Toronto’s separate, publicly funded Triangle School as “provid[ing] a safe place, free of homophobia where lesbians, gays, bisexuals and the transgender [sic] and those victimized by homophobia can be themselves…In the process students are able to explore a rich and varied lesbigay literature, history and culture.”

Listen, how about having the kids master the basics of math and science before delving into the “lesbigay” curriculum? Particularly when gay history lessons seem to consist largely of combing the books to find prominent male figures who were never confirmed homosexuals—such as former U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, or renowned Toronto area pervert Alexander Wood—and slapping the gay label on them retroactively. (What do you want to bet that there are no gay Nazis in the “lesbigay history” books?)

In a time of budgetary constraint, we don’t need to be using public funds to set up separate public schools in order to promote the pet interests of activist groups. Nor should schools be in the business of pairing kids with gay activists through special, publicly funded online forums—such as the Peel District’s “Triangle” conference. That’s the school counselor’s job.

None of this has anything to do with education. It’s about hijacking the public school system in order to promote a very narrow agenda. Just check out public education websites from across Canada. A term that keeps popping up is “social justice”: a new catchphrase that translates roughly into “radical leftist activism”.

The Peel District website is peppered with “social justice” references. And you can’t become a moderator for the gay forum unless you are “committed to social justice”.

Out on Canada’s Left Coast, the Vancouver Secondary Teachers’ Association website states: “[T]he on-going tasks of defending and promoting social justice are seen by many as essential to the work of our union. The [BC Teachers’ Federation] calls itself a "Social Justice Union" and many of our members have social justice at the centre of their work as teachers.”

Why yes, they do. And it’s no wonder that parents who merely want an a la carte education for their kids without the heaping side of radical activism are high-tailing it away from the public system.